Monday, November 28, 2011

21 Things

Thanksgiving was great. As you probably noticed, I took a complete break. I did some cross-training, but didn't run or blog. Or read blogs. Unfortunately, I became sick during the weekend, so no running for me for a while.

But while I'm not running, Tall Mom, has tagged me to do a 21 things about me post. And since all the cool kids were doing it, I decided to do one.

1. I like fashion, but I lack fashion sense. Good thing I don't own a fashion blog. For some reason, I can't match and pair a good outfit.
I usually have shirt, jeans, and sneakers on. 

2. I am easily inspired by words. So reading blogs about people running is a great motivator for me to keep on running.

3. I am not a huge fan of drinking and that kind of shenanigans. There seems to be a lot of running bloggers who also like a glass of sangria or too. Unfortunately, I'm not one of them. I just dislike the taste, and no matter what I mix it with, I can't get into it. 

4. I am still not sure what I want to do with my life. But graduation is drawing nearer and real life is getting scarier. 

5. I am obsessed with bubble tea. I used to go almost everyday. But the whole no job thing has caused me to cut back. 
If you can't see, I am holding bubble tea. 

6. I enjoy writing creatively. It would be amazing to be a writer, but I don't think I have enough talent to pursue that line of career full time.

7. I first took up running, because I wanted to spend more time with my dad. He told me that I can tag along on his run if I can keep up with him for 20 minutes. This was during elementary school. From then, running was always something that I could do at least for 20 minutes. 

8. I moved a lot. Not as much as someone from a military family, but more than an average person probably. I was born in South Korea. I then moved to NJ, WI, CA, and now I'm in NY. 

9. I love figure skating. I've wanted to do it since high school, but by then I was too old and the lessons were too expensive. Luckily, I go to a college where they offer figure skating classes.
Not very good, but I'm at least comfortable on the ice now. 

10. I dropped out of kindergarten. Yup. I'm a kindergarten drop out. What a delinquent. But I did start up first grade with  my peers after dropping out.

11. I get obsessed with things. Once, I spent an entire week making felt, miniature stuffed animals. I had dozens! I also get obsessed with knitting at least once during the winter. I knit day and night and finish a long scarf in a weekend. I have problems. 

12. I love poetry by Billy Collins. I like poetry that show me a different way to see the world.
Litany might be my favorite work of his. You should check it out.

13. Lately, I've been thinking about where I want to settle down and develop my career on the basis of which city has the best races. Obsess much?

14. My favorite animals are giraffes. Don't know why. But I love them. I now have a quite sizable collection of them.

15.One of the best parts about Christmas is going to see the Christmas decorations on houses with my family. I just have happy memories of walking down streets lit up by cheery lights and decorations.

16. I would love to have a dog once I settle down in one place. Right now, the top contender is a shiba inu.
I love the way that they smile. I love using pinterest to get my shiba fill for the day. 

17. I have dreams of one day taking gymnastics classes. One of the things that I'd love to be able to do before death is to do a front and back hand spring. I also want to be a good dancer before I die, but the hand spring thing is probably easier.
I'd love to be able to do this. But the closest I can get to dancing like a pro is looking up photos on pinterest. 

18. I love it when people give me their insights on life and their way of living. I find them so inspiring and useful. 

19.  I dislike mysteries unless it's a Sherlock type of mystery. I find Sherlock logic fascinating and admirable. I'm not as big of a fan of finding who murdered whom with use of DNA tests and etc. 

20. I am stubborn and have a hard time listening to others. (At least I know it? So that I can fix it?) When I was 7 and all my other friends wanted to be a nurse, I wanted to be a doctor so that I'd be in charge. 

21. I am a fairly reserved person. Finding 21 things about myself was very difficult. I just couldn't find anything interesting that I thought others might find interesting or at least quirky. 

And now I'm tagging, the most recent people to comment on my blog. Since I'm not quite sure who reads my blog regularly. 

And whoever is reading this post! 

Have a great Monday!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Forgetting things

Today was supposed to be my tempo day. I didn't want to get out and do it, but I was planning on just forcing myself to go. I just told myself, "get out the door and see what happens."

The weather was cold. And I set out faster than I intended just to warm up. Midway through my warm up mile, I noticed that something was odd. More specifically, somethings were bouncier than they were supposed to be.

I debated turning back to change into my sports bra. But the weather wasn't great and I didn't think I would venture out again if I went back.

So I set out to do some easy three miles. I ended up keeping a fairly brisk pace (brisk for me) of 8:26/mile. It also started raining a mile into the run reducing visibility. I guess it worked out for the best that I skipped a workout run.

I probably had the tempo miles in me. But after four hours of sleep, and rock star fueling (thanks to genetics prelim), it was nice to "rest."
Clearly studying hard . 
The run was a great way to kick off the Thanksgiving weekend. I probably will take it easy this week, because my shins have been feeling sorer than usual. 

I hope everyone's week is progressing nicely. And do you ever forget important things for a run? Do you usually head back or just go with it? 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Best Dream Ever!

Don't you hate it when you have a super realistic dream? Then you wake up and the sad reality hits.

I had one of those moments this morning. This dream was so good that I tried to get back into it by lying in bed for thirty extra minutes thinking about the dream. 

In my dream, I ran a 2:09:00 marathon. I just pushed myself really hard and at one point, I ran next to Kara Goucher. After I finished, the media surrounded me and asked me about my training and etc. And all I could say was, I don't know. I just went for it. And because I was an elite runner, Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall were my best friends. Additionally, everyone loved me, because it was like a Cinderella story except with athletics. 

After I ran the marathon, my first thought was "Yay, I have a BQ!" Then after a few days, I had another marathon coming up. But I was really afraid, because what if the first race was a fluke? The second race started off badly and I ended up dropping out after a mile. People tried to comfort me by saying that my longest training run so far had been 12 miles, and for that I really did well in the first marathon. And that the next will be better. 

Needless to say, when I woke up, I was extremely disappointed. I was still my chemical engineering student self who has yet to break 2 hours in a half marathon.
I wish this was me crossing the finish line at 2:09:00 for the marathon. 
But thanks to that dream, I went out and conquered my long run of 12 miles. The course was hilly and I was not keeping the pace for a 2:09 marathon, but I didn't give up even when the going got hard. I wanted to quit after six miles, but I kept chugging along and kept a fairly even pace and averaged 9:22/mile.
My school has an arboretum that my long runs always pass through. 
Do you ever have running dreams? Or dreams that you wish would never end? Sorry for lack of photos, but you can't take photos of dreams. What a shame. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Running without a watch

Today, I was forced to run without a garmin. I briefly considered waiting for it to charge, but I didn't want to risk not going for a run at all. So, I forced my bf to accompany for the first three miles. If I couldn't spend the run obsessing over my mile splits and distance, I needed distraction
I made him go even though he didn't have long workout pants. I'm a fantastic girlfriend. 
But turns out, running without numbers might be the best thing ever. 

In the beginning, I slowed down instead of pushing it. There was no watch telling me that I was running slowly, so I just took it easy. 
I even sat down on a bench that I've always wanted to try sitting on. I hadn't been missing out on much. It was cold and not very comfy. 
It was also good to slow down because my bf has been experiencing some pain in his achilles tendon area. He's had it for weeks. Anyone know what that could be caused by? Or what to do to treat it? 

After 2 miles, he decided to walk home and I set out to run a little longer. My legs settled into a nice rhythm and I enjoyed the alone time. I ended up completing 5.44 miles at an unknown pace. I wanted to run longer, but the light was fading and I was sort of dressed in darks. Great for stealth attacks, but not so great for night running. 
My hair is black too. I could totally be a ninja.

All in all, I am very happy. At times like these, I am so thankful to be a runner. Especially since I may have had a giant cotton candy for lunch that needed to be burned off. 

Tell me, do you always run with a garmin? What was your favorite running moment of the week? 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter is here

And I kind of miss fall. 
Path that I always walk by on the way to class
Today was the first real snow fall of the season. And while I love snow, I will miss all the pretty leaves.
This is the prettiest tree in the engineering quad. We are good friends. 
I was thankful that I got my run in before the snow thing happened. Not that it snowed hard, but now I get to stay warm and under the covers. 

The run itself was disappointing. I was planning on doing 3x1 mile intervals at 7:37/mile with 0.5 mile rest in between. But I somehow lost steam in the middle of it. I know that I can do it. I knocked out a 5K, 3.1 consecutive miles, in 7:34/mile. This should have been easy. 
See? I'm not lying. It's documented. 
However, for whatever reason, I couldn't keep up the pace. I would like to think that it was the three hours of sleep I got last night. But probably it was a combination of my weak will, exhaustion, and the fact that I haven't ran much in the last week. On the bright side, I did get in 4.36 miles. 

The weird part was that after deciding to not complete my intervals, I couldn't bring my pace down to my normal easy pace. I ran the first mile at 9:20 as a warm up, and ran the rest of the miles at a 8:12/mile pace. 

So it's sort of like a tempo. Right? Right? 

Tomorrow, I am definitely shooting for slower miles in preparation for this weekend's long run. 
Winter in California. Definitely different than winter in NY. Doesn't it look like my dad has a halo? 

Happy FRIDAY!!!! I'm excited about sleeping. Lots of sleeping. What are you guys excited about? 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Wild Tuesday

Sorry that I haven't posted anything in a while. For no reason at all, I just took a break from life for the weekend. I did not go run or do anything particularly productive. I just did the things that I HAD to do for school. I was planning on running during the weekend, but I just wasn't feeling it. So it's been 5 days since my last run, and today I was more than ready to come back to the running world.

Although now even though the desire is here, thanks to my last round of prelims, I am actually unsure of how much actual running will get done.
Yay running! 

Before college, I wondered what it would be like. I thought it would be filled with wild nights like Wasted Wednesdays, Thirsty Thursdays, and just plain old weekend partying. But I did not magically turn into a party girl with college. I'd still much prefer salted caramel mocha at Starbucks to a cocktail.

And now that I am a runner, my wild Tuesday night is going for a run the day before a prelim. 
Look at this wildchild go. Partying it up with a run. 
And posing awkwardly on purpose.
We can't take credit for this awkward pose. We saw someone do it online. It doesn't look as bad because he's wearing workout clothes, but the guy online had a suit on.  
So now I am all recharged and whatnot. And ready to take on more studying. 
Parting shot of my school at night. 
I hope you guys are having a great week! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dreadful Tempo

So, after getting your input on the training plan, I decided to do the laziest thing possible. I decided to try out the Smart Coach at Runner's World. Since I only had about 9 weeks of training left, I didn't feel like tweaking Higdon's plan. I figured, Smart Coach will just automatically adjust whatever plan it had. It also told me exactly what pace I should run.

Me and my new lover, the foam roller. Instead of lazying around after my run, I roll out my legs  for about a minute. I am that diligent. 
Unfortunately, Smart Coach had a tempo run scheduled for Wednesday. I procrastinated and pushed the run to yesterday. All day, I kept on giving myself little pep talks. If I can run a 5K in 7:34/mile pace, I can pump out four miles at the prescribed 8:09/min pace.

I would just like to say that I beasted it. It was hard for me mentally to complete the run especially at mile 4, but I pushed through it. I mean by the time I was on the third tempo mile, there was no way in hell that I was going to give up and do the run some other day. I didn't want my first two tempo miles to have been for nothing. After a mile warm up at 10:08, I was able to pick it up for first tempo mile and ran it at 8:04. Miles 2, 3, and 4 were 8:06, 8:04, and 7:48 respectively.
This is my beast pose. It's a little awkward, but  I can't take good photos of myself. 
The best part about the whole run was that after the miles, for my cool down I ran the last mile at 8:49, which felt really slow. In total, I went for 6.25 miles with an average pace of 8:31/mile.

One thing though was that I purposely picked a flatter route. Is that cheating?
A lot flatter than my usual runs. 
Have a great Friday everyone! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Training Plan

PRing is hard work. I know that I can't just run whenever I feel like at whichever paces I feel like and expect to hit my goal time. But finding a right training plan is so hard.

For the Oak Tree Half, I found my training plan by checking out two years worth of Runner's World Magazine from the school library. Then I went through each issue cover to cover in the span of two days. Luckily for me, I found a perfect six week plan with a day of intervals, a day of tempo, and a day of long run. And I followed that plan like the world was going to end if I didn't.
Sort of like this, but less hardcore. Since the training was during the summer. And also at the beach. 
But now, I have an important race coming up, but no training plan.  Every time I think about having to hit certain paces for a tempo or intervals, I get stressed out and lose the motivation to run. I think I can't, before I even step out the door. I think that for my first half, there was less stress to PR, because I could have ran that half in 5 hours and it still would have been a PR. Additionally, I did most of my training runs by the beach in Cali.
Elevation profile of my run at the beach. It changes maybe about 40ft at most. 

Elevation profile of my runs now. It changes around 300ft. 
Since I don't have easy access to a track or a treadmill, and even if I did, I wouldn't want to run my longer intervals on the track, the hills are daunting. 

This also is probably why I had such a hard time at Oak Tree Half. I went from sea level flat training runs to higher altitude hilly course. 

My point is that I don't know what to do about a training plan. It would be nice to have one, but at the same time, I am afraid of not being able to hit my paces. These are the times when I wish I had a coach telling me what to do. 
Exactly my problem. 
How do you guys find a training plan? How do you keep yourself from being intimidated by the specific paces that you hope to hit?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week's Recap

 I discovered how to access the elevation changes of my runs.Since  I am a data obsessed engineer, more data = happy Rena.

Non running things that happened:
-Convinced my guy friends to drive 30 minutes from campus to hit up a KFC. Then washed that down with a donut. But it's cool, I'm a runner.
-Got over my fear of running in tight long running pants. Since the weather has been getting cooler, I had to get over this fear sometime.
-Went for a spontaneous bubble tea excursion with a friend.
Yay sugar! I love long runs that allow me to consume extra calories.  
- Bought a pair leg warmers when I saw them on sale. I've always loved them but didn't wear them because I have short non-dancer legs. But I run now, and I'll wear whatever I want to. 
I pretend that I'm a dancer with my legwarmers. 

Monday: 5 miles 9:07/mile pace.
Even though this is faster than I normally run my easy runs, it felt good. And I was able to hold it.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 3 miles 9:33/mile
I decided that I was going to start following a training plan and start doing tempos and intervals. So I took it easy for preparation for Wed. I kept what was supposed to be my easy speed. It felt like I was going super slow, but it didn't feel easy.

Thursday: Rest
I was planning on a midnight run with the bf after getting all our work done, but didn't happen. Notice that also speedwork or tempos didn't happen. Right after my 3 miler, I decided that intervals and tempos were stressful and that I wanted to put it off.

Friday: 5 miles 8:29/mile
After a mile, I decided to really push the pace, even up a hill. I ran all the way up to the stables at my school. And used it as an excuse to stop/take pictures. I didn't get any good pics with my phone and managed to scare the horse. But I did have a great paced run.
I powered through the  beginning even though it's almost all uphill. 

Saturday: Planned 8 miles
Didn't happen.

Sunday: 8 miles 9:30/mile
Dragged myself out for 8 miles. It was miserable and slow, but at least I got it done. And I managed to justify why I wasn't following a training plan for my goal half. I convinced myself that I had a mental block against distances over 5 miles, so I just need to focus on running longer even during week days. Planning workouts during running is like going shopping when hungry. Not a good idea! I wanted to quit after 5 miles, but the bf joined me for the last 3 miles. Running is always easier with a buddy.
My bf, AKA running buddy. He's the one in the middle, not the kid on the left. That would make me a pedophile. 

It's great to have running buddies.
My running buddy when I'm visiting my bf's house. Best part is that he lives on a farm, so no leash for the dog.  He just sort of trots next to me or goes off and comes back every once in a while. No fighting with a leash! 
What was your favorite moment of your week? I hope it was filled with good runs. It's Monday tomorrow, have a happy run filled week! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trouble with Blogging

The main trouble with blogging is that I have a running blog. Meaning  . . . I have to actually lace up my Brooks and go for a run.
Napping > Running
 And the more I run, the more I feel the need to sign up for races. If I'm going to run 13.1 miles anyways, I may as well make it a race, so that I can get a shiny new medal and feel superior.

But then once you have a medal, it looks very lonely by itself. And two medals are more impressive than one.
Medals weren't meant to be alone. 

The more I run races, the more I'm running. And the more I'm running, the more things I can blog about on my running blog. And the more I blog, more people want to become virtual running, blogging, buddies (hopefully).

And the more people become my friends, the more I need to blog to keep my new friends. And the more I need to blog, the more I need to run in order to have something to write about.

And it's a vicious cycle that I accidentally got swept up in. This is the trouble with blogging. And this is also why I'd probably end up running for the rest of my life.

I hope you guys have a happy, garmin-catching Friday! And if you're thinking about starting a running blog, or already have one, IT'S A TRAP! There's no turning back. So might as well enjoy the ride. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I am the kind of person who gets obsessed with things quickly. And they usually burn out fast. For instance, once during winter break, I found a book on making felt stuffed animals. That night, I spent a good amount of money on all the supplies and made them non stop for a week. That's seriously all I did for a week. Then, as quickly as it came, I lost interest and all the supplies haven't been touched since.

During the summer, I got bitten by the running bug hard.
Garmin wearin', compression socks wearin' running bug. He has sharp teeth for biting.  
After I found running blogs, I  read them obsessively for a week. Then I HAD to have one of my own. I had just gotten started with running.  And instead of thinking about good URL and researching what other people did, I just went and made one (milehogger.blogspot). 

Me on a run. I gave myself the liberty of having totally awesome tusks. What's a hog without tusks. 
Then I started reading more running blogs. And most of the ones I liked had the blogger's name and something about running. I started feeling badly about my URL. That I made the wrong choice. And that people would just see my URL and completely not even click on it. And no one would want to be my friend. 
Me crying in the corner. My sadness disappeared my awesome tusks. 

And then, now, I've grown to embrace it. Hogging makes me think of obsession, and that's fairly accurate. I'm obsessed with my mileage, races etc. And there's also sort of a relevant story to this. When I was nine, I used to play in the local park with local kids. There was one summer, where soccer was the big thing. Remember when I said that I get obsessed. Well, I got REALLY into the games. And there might have been an incident when I charged too strongly at the ball and gave a boy bloody feet. But then who plays soccer in sandals. Not my fault at all. And he may have told my parents that I charged at him like a bull and scared the crap out of him. Well, it sort of became the running (PUN!) joke in my family. And my parents still occasionally refers to me as a bull. And hog sort of has the same feeling as a bull. We both have pointy things on our heads that we can use to attack things. 

Additionally, I suck at drawing people. A round hog is much easier to deal with. I am a big believer in blog posts with pictures. However, I've never been the one to take much pictures. In fact, I have two photos total from my prom. I just never remember to carry my camera to places.
Basically what I looked like. Notice the corsage replacing my garmin. 
So I decided that MS Paint photos > No posts. I've had times when I didn't have adequate photos from my run preventing me from posting. And I will try to remember my camera more. 

So this is why I'm the milehogger. And if you were wondering, the header for my blog is from a poem by Frost. I just always think of it when I'm running. It's sort of like a nerdy motivational mantra. 

Now tell me something interesting about you! (Your blog, or anything else) Or a childhood memory that still affects you to this day.